For the last 30 days I haven’t had a cell phone. This whole thing started over my money/life mentoring trip to Vegas last month. I was standing in the hotel lobby and my phone slide off a book and hit the floor….never to turn on again. I had planned to be offline the whole weekend, so didn’t think much about it. When I got home, I found out it would be $118 to fix or $150-$250ish to replace. Hum…I started to wonder, “How much value is my cell phone really adding to my life?” I pay $33 a month for my service. But am I getting $33 a month of value from it? So I decided to conduct a little 30 day experiment. What is life like without a cell phone?
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t love cell phones. I tend to lose mine for days on end. Forget to charge it. Or drop it in bodies of water. I always own the cheapest possible version. This one was actually the nicest I’ve ever had only because my mom upgraded her phone and I got the old one for Christmas.
Pros and Cons of a month cell phone-free
Email I have always hated having email on my phone. It took a form of communication I actually really liked and ruined it. Email is awesome because I can read and respond to people at a time that is convenient to me. Having emails come through my phone while I’m checking out at the grocery store ruins the whole concept. So I never installed my email onto my phone. That is actually an option in case you are wondering.
Twitter I did like being able to snap a picture and share it in real time. It was easier to share. That alone added about $5 of value a month to my life.
Facebook I didn’t like having Facebook on my phone and deleted the app. Mostly because I spend too much time there on my tablet or laptop as is. On my phone it was suddenly a temptation to scroll through my newsfeed when I really wanted to be connecting to the real people in front of me. So I deleted it rather than let it cause negative value.
Texting I don’t text a lot. Sometimes I text with my mentoring peeps. Sometimes with other bloggers. Occasionally with Mr. Montana, my mom or best friend. But being as I don’t know where my phone is half the time, it’s not really the best way to get a hold of me in real time. No one that sends me a text has the expectation I will respond within 5 hours let alone 5 minutes. Now, Mr. Montana does still have his phone (which he does love!), so I still have that option if my kids are being crazy cute and want to snap a pic to text to my mom.
Phone calls I don’t really love talking on my cell. I’m just old school like that. I like calling on landlines.
Emergencies This would add about $5 in value a month. Being able to call if I am out and about and need to get a hold of someone. This might be the reason I look into cheaper on demand options. But I also live in Montana. And by that I mean, if I really need to make a call, I just need to ask someone to borrow their cell phone. 90% of the time, they would say yes. 50% of the time they would seem overjoyed to help. People are just like that here. If I’m stuck on the side of the road, someone will stop to help. The ratio between honest helpful people to scary jerks is about 1000 to 2.
Mr. Montana is rather protective about his phone, but I might be able to wrangle it away from him every now and then if needed. (If I promise not to take it near water!)
It’s OK to be weird
The point of this post isn’t if you should have a cell phone or not.
The point is: It’s OK to be weird.
It’s OK to spend money on things that are the most important to you. It’s OK to spend money on things that add a TON of value to your life. And it’s OK to cut an expense that everyone else has because it’s not adding value or is not important to you.
It’s weird not to have a cell phone. I’m OK with that. It’s weird to cut something so ubiquitous, especially if it only costs $33 a month.
If you are like J$ and loving rolling around in Lexus. It’s OK.
If you wash your zipplock bags. It’s OK.
If you LOVE eating out like the awesome guys at The Resume Gap as you take 2 years to travel around the world. It’s OK.
If you save 60% of your income so you will have more financial freedom. It’s OK.
If you add milk to your ranch dressing to stretch it (um, that’s totally me). It’s OK.
Know what the most important things in your life are, and the things that add oodels of value: Spend money there. And know what things don’t.
It’s OK to be weird.
I happen to like my ranch dressing thinned out with milk. It’s drizzles better on salad. The idea of scooping and smearing Ranch on lettuce kind of grosses me out.
At a point in my mentoring program process, after we have looked at the 5 areas of a persons life that is the most important, we look at the current budget. I ask 2 questions. 1. Are there any areas that aren’t providing a good value for the amount you are spending? And, 2. What areas are so important you want to spend more time and money there? Both are important questions.
If the most important value is creating more financial freedom, it’s OK if you are investing 50-70% of your income. If your health is a huge priority, it’s OK if you have a gym membership (that you are using!). If you really want to travel with your kids, it’s OK if you sell your home and buy an RV.
It’s OK to be weird.
Do you know what our largest spending category was for 2016? Giving. That’s weird. We gave more money away than we spent on food, or utility bills, or even travel. But that’s us. It’s one of our most important values and our spending reflects that.
The problem with spending is when we get it all backwards. I talk to people in the mentoring program about the things that are most important in their life. Then we go through exactly what those things look like. If we look at their budget and none of it lines up. That’s a problem.
Being weird isn’t the problem. Spending and living opposite to your values is the problem.
At one point or another we have taken heat/been criticized by people about: investing too much, giving too much, buying rentals, buying a classic car, driving a beater car, being too frugal, working too much, taking time off work, not traveling enough and traveling too much. Seriously.
And I’m not even talking about internet trolls. Real people that we know and care about have criticized these choices. Because they are weird choices. But our choices and our spending perfectly line up with our goals, values and plans.
When your spending and choices get really on point with your values and desired lifestyle, someone will ask concerned questions. Someone will subtly criticize. When you are saving 50% of your take home pay. When you are investing in rentals and giving up your nights and weekends. When you walk away from a stable job to pursue a bigger dream because you have enough financial freedom to do that. Questions and concerns. Lots and lots of questions and concerns will come your way.
It’s OK. You’re just being weird. (aka, on point with what you really want to get out of life.)
So I’m canceling my cell phone service. Maybe I’ll find a way to get a great value with another kind of plan. If not, I’ll just be the weirdo who doesn’t own a cell phone. I’m good with that.
Any choices you have taken heat over because they are weird?
Do people have a hard time understanding some of your choices (frugal, investing, passive income, lifestyle priorities)? How do you handle that?